1st at 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest

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24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest (photo credit: Gillen Photography)

Whoa!!! What a vacation: 42oo mile road trip, pristine camping in Cloudcroft, sunset in the White Sands, 1st at the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest on the ONE SPEED, lots of green and red chile burritos, a fabulous trek at Tent Rocks and an amazing time bouncing all around New Mexico from one side to another with my super lady Jess Moore!

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Christmas Time

Zia Rides has a formula and it has vibe. I have gotten to know Seth, race director, and he knows how to put on a competitive event filled with fun that satisfies everyone with entertainment, food, drink and hospitality. I have done two of his events now and I’m super stoked every time I line up at a ¬†Zia Rides event. I highly recommend trying one of his multiple mountain bike endurance events and you will be better for it, trust me.

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Church Rock-Gallup, NM

Located just outside of Gallup, NM at the USFS McGaffey Campground the course was a beauty set at 8000 feet above sea level in the beautiful Zuni Mountains among beautiful pine and aspen trees. A lap consisted of 13.5 miles and just over 900 feet of elevation gain. The lap started off with a flowy section that climbs up in the middle and ends with a flowy descent back to the start. I chose a rigid setup and again I overestimated my ability to absorb punishment over a 24 period. The middle of the course was rocky in sections and a rocky descent near the end that over time punished me like an old school teacher slapping your hand with a ruler back in the day when you spoke out of turn. That being said, a lot of the other riders that I talked to said it beat them down over time as well even with suspension. Dust was a huge issue being in such a dry climate and I rode a lot of the day laps with a bandana wrapped around my face to filter it out looking like I was about to rob a train. I recommend wearing one in settings such as these especially at the beginning when the line of riders is like a herd of cattle being rustled into a corral. The dust even with glasses on made its way into my eyes and they stayed irritated and red for several days after the race. In the end a 24 hour race is a beat down and you should expect no less if you are going at it solo. That is what makes a solo a SOLO! The course was a beauty as it wrapped around and slid through the Zuni high desert landscape.

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The field of single speeders was a solid one and the winner from last year was present so I knew that I would have to stay focused and drive steady. With Jess in my corner I knew I could do just that. The temperatures were a beast out there ranging from a high of 100 during the day and dropping to 40 in the wee hours of the morning. My body was going through spasms at times due to the extreme changes out there on course throughout the day and night. Jess kept me massaged and kept me hydrated and nourished throughout the race. I truly couldn’t have done it without her caring and prompt attention. As the race commenced, I held a steady pace with quick pits and eventually built up a lead of 2 laps on the second place single speeder. I also was in the overall lead out of all solo riders, geared, by one lap. After 20 hours of beating my body on the rigid single speed I decided that my lead was strong enough to call it and enjoy some libations. An amazing race in a spectacular setting. One of the strongest performances in my racing career. The racers were truly top-notch and very mannerful. I met some solid racers out on course and I look forward to riding ¬†with them again. Seth runs a top notch organization and it shows out there on the course and the racers adopt that sensibility. I can’t wait to get out to New Mexico again and race another Zia Rides event.

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A few highlights on the course: dodging of cows at all hours, bacon at the Bacon Station, a beautiful setting in the Zuni Mountains, 200 miles in 20 hours on rip-roaring single track, my light going out on me during the middle of the course at 3 a.m., flowy trails like Y2K that make you grin from ear to ear, friendly and respectful racers at all times out on the course, a great race organization that thought of everything that made everyone’s weekend one to remember, and having Jess in my corner always smiling!

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Whites Sands

This was a big win for many reasons. One, it is always a huge satisfaction when you can drive across the country and take a win in a setting that you are not familiar with in regards to temperatures, climate and elevation. Second, the 24 hours in the Enchanted Forest is the first race in a 3 part series to crown the 24 National Champion in Geared and Single Speed Solo formats. Since USAC disbanded the 24 Hour crown, Seth and a group of other race directors decided to put together a new championship to honor those that are willing to push themselves out of their comfort zones to endure 24 hours of punishment. Being that I won the first race in the series, I now lead the charge towards the crown for the single speed national championship. The next race is in Oregon which is followed by the final race in Utah. I’m considering the chase as I feel like these opportunities don’t come around often. We shall see so stay tuned!

Thanks again to all of my sponsors for equipping me with the best. When you are a solo rider in an endurance format it makes a really big difference knowing that you can depend on your equipment for 24 hours without a hiccup. Zia Rides for going above and beyond to put on a stellar event. Most of all I want to thank Jess for traipsing around the country and being in my corner. Without her I would be a ragged mess and wouldn’t be able to reach my full potential.

A great vacation it was and one that will go down in the memory book of awesomeness!

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Tent Rocks

Cheers New Mexico!

 

1st at 8 Hours of Ithaca

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Jail House Growler

It was hot and humid…the trails were slick and the bridges were booby traps. Another one in the books and another win. It has been a great year of racing. I wanted to try out the Michigan scene and I wasn’t disappointed. Some great competition to be had up there. Ithaca is a small little town in central Michigan that contains the Jail House Trail at the local fairground. It is a twisted maze of weave that accumulates into 5.6 miles of a ripping good time of dizzy. Fun Promotions runs this event along with several other endurance events in the Michigan Cup Endurance Series. Fun Promotions put on a great race in the 8 hours of Ithaca. After driving 4.5 hours north from Dayton with my lady on one of the hottest days of the year without A/C, we arrived with 50 minutes until the start. A quick hustle to setup the pits and I was off with an impressive field of single speeders. A bit of rain and a thunderstorm made a visit, which buttered up the already peanut butter slick trails and it was a slip/slide affair. I settled into 2nd place early and rode steady. I haven’t raced this year in conditions that were really hot and humid, so I wanted to pace myself. It paid off as the first place rider, Alex from Tree Fort Bikes, held the lead with me always within ~5 minutes the entire race until the last lap and I passed him out of the pits and made the run to the finish. 19 laps (106 miles) in 8 hours. It was a close one for the entire 8 hours and steady pacing won it for me on this day. Alex was solid and hats off to him for running a solid race. Jess was always smiling while running the pits and kept me going without delay. It really makes a positive impact when the pits are smooth and items are easily accessible. In the end, I felt good and easily could have laid down more laps. The humidity was rough and hydration was key out there. The trails were fun and fast.

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Wolf Tooth Components did me well with my drivetrain setup. I ran a 32T front chain ring and 17T rear cog. I really like the chainring and single speed cog setup. I drove it hard and the chain just locked in and propelled on these gears. The chainring has the Drop Stop tooth design which forms to the anatomy of a chain. Made out of aluminum, so that keeps the drive train setup light.

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Trucker Co tire sealant once again saved the day. I didn’t realize it until the next morning after the race when I noticed a small stick impaled in the front tire. I never lost any air pressure. Solid sealant and I highly recommend it for tubeless setups, it can make a huge difference in winning or losing as it did in this race for me.

Im hoping that the wet summer starts to dry up some here in the midwest, so that more riding and racing can be undertaken.

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Pedal On!

Cheers!

1st at TommyKnocker 10

Jackhammering Effect

First race of the year was a big success. I was able to ride hard and consistent for 9 hours while amassing 100 miles and 8000 feet of climbing. The TommyKnocker went down in Silver City, NM. The trails were amazing in the high desert at 6000 feet elevation. We rode on the trails at Fort Bayard and they were high desert winding zip and pop. The first half of the course was a climb that was steady and gradual with a few rollers. The second half was a roller coaster with a few technical pop ups. The course consisted of gravelly sand and rock. The rocky course did beat you over time especially on my rigid setup. By the time I finished I was feeling the post jackhammering effect in my body. The fuzzy podium picture represents my vision at the time. Cactus was prevelant but not too close to the trail. You definitely want to run sealant as I did pick up some cactus burrs. The weather was grand and a nice break from what we have been subject to on the east coast. I was impressed with Zia Rides as they put on a stellar event and gave it a down home flavor. The single speed division was fairly big for an endurance lap race and there were some strong riders. The “OO” Buckshot that I just did a build write up on in the previous post was bomber. It rocked and even though I ran rigid the carbon absorbed and responded well to the undulating of the course rather that was tight turns on an uphill requiring massive torque or the bouncing through a rock garden. I was especially pleased with my Loaded Precision Ultra  XLite carbon wheels. They flat out hooked up.

Ripping it at the Tommyknocker

My training has been limited this winter but my power was solid as well as my endurance which I was a bit worried about since my rides have been short. Adjusting to the altitude and sleep deprivation from the quick travel to the race was a challenge. I seemed to make it happen and I was very pleased as I was able to take the lead on lap 1 and ended up lapping the single speed field. I was able to stop an hour early due to my lead. I could have done another lap but my body was thankful that it wasn’t needed. I credit my girlfriend for keeping me fueled and smiling out on the course. Thank you baby. I would also like to thank my sponsors especially Loaded Precision for the carbon wheels and cockpit, ESI for the grips, xpedo for the pedals, Kogel Bearings for the bottom bracket and Twin Six for the stylish and functional Metal bike kits. Also, Trucker Co. has brought me on as one of their posse and I will be running their brake pads and tire sealant. I’m super pumped about being with these guys. It was a hoot and I’m pumped for the year as I have some amazing challenges in front of me that I’m eager to face. Again thanks to Zia Rides for hosting such a great event.  Jess Moore was a jewel out there and I’m very thankful that I have her in my corner. We are wrapping up an amazing tour across the southwest that has taken us from Albuquerque, NM to Idyllwild, CA. Thank you baby.

Celebrating the Victory

Get out and jam people. Spring is upon us.

Riding the Chutes in Tucson, AZ

Riding in Idyllwild, CA

Cheers!